language

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Twitter's New Red Flag: You Really Want to Tweet That?

Experiment will ask users if they actually want to put up replies with profanity, slurs

(Newser) - If you've ever tweeted something inflammatory at someone and later lamented, "Maybe I shouldn't have written that," Twitter is testing a feature it hopes might prevent that after-the-fact remorse. Per Bloomberg , the social media giant is conducting what it calls a "limited experiment" that issues... More »

Researchers Listen to Penguins, Hear a First

Traits such as shorter syllables found for first time outside primates

(Newser) - When it comes to language, penguins and humans appear to have a thing or two in common. Researchers studied the calls of African penguins and found that their vocal patterns follow two distinct patterns that until now have never been seen outside primates, reports the Ecologist . First, the penguins' most... More »

White Progressives, Enough With 'Latinx'

Giancarlo Sopo says it's actually offensive to many Latinos

(Newser) - "Latinos" and "Hispanics"? OK. "Latinx?" We'll pass. That's pretty much what Giancarlo Sopo argues in USA Today about an increasingly popular progressive term. "What began in the 2000s among activists has now gained currency among marketers, media personalities and progressives," he writes.... More »

'Mayochup' Has an 'Unfortunate Translation'

Who wants some 's---face'?

(Newser) - Those who already think Mayochup isn't a great name for a condiment should hear it through the ears of a Cree. As aboriginal language expert Arok Wolvengrey tells USA Today , "mayo" sounds a lot like "meyiwi," a Cree word meaning "related to feces," while... More »

Think You've Got a Handle on Foreign Languages? Meet Thaksin

Thaksin sells souvenirs, but Cambodian Red Cross will pay for his education after newfound fame

(Newser) - A young boy who's picked up parts of at least 12 languages and dialects while selling souvenirs to tourists at Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple complex is about to get a change of scenery—and a free education. Thaksin first won hearts around the world in a viral video... More »

She Woke Up From Bike Crash and Couldn't Speak English

British woman reverts to the German she grew up with

(Newser) - Britain's Hannah Jenkins got knocked unconscious when she collided with another bicyclist, and when she woke up in the hospital, she couldn't figure out why the doctors and nurses weren't speaking English. Except, as the BBC explains, they were. Jenkins, however, couldn't understand a thing: The... More »

Mom: Preschool Language Ban Is 'Ridiculous'

Christine Hartwell is pulling out her little girl

(Newser) - A Massachusetts mom isn't too thrilled with the word-ban imposed by her daughter's preschool, the AP reports. Christine Hartwell says her 4-year-old daughter Julia came home unhappy from the Pentucket Workshop Preschool in Georgetown because her teacher said the term "best buddy" was forbidden. "I think... More »

Word Invented by Simpsons Now in Dictionary

D'oh, it's 'embiggen'

(Newser) - Merriam-Webster's dictionary just got heavier, with 850 new words added to its pages for 2018. "Self-care," "life hack," "dark chocolate," and "tzatziki" finally got the nod, in addition to "glamping" (glamorous camping with plumbing), "mansplain," "hmm," "... More »

French Purists Don't Want Citizens To Say 'Smartphone'

They prefer 'mobile multifonction'

(Newser) - A society of high-minded French purists have deemed another English-derived word unfit for their language. According to the Local , Commission d'enrichissement de la langue française has zeroed in on the use of "smartphone." Known in English as the Enrichment Commission for the French Language, the group... More »

'Absurd' Motion Asks Quebec Shopkeepers to Not Say 'Hi'

Resolution requesting use of 'bonjour' instead of English greeting passed 111-0

(Newser) - Quebec is all about preserving its French heritage. Unlike other provinces of Canada—which recognizes English and French as its official languages—Quebec has a watchdog agency dedicated to that goal, as well as strict laws making French the sole language of government, commerce, the judiciary, and the dominant language... More »

How Your Speech Could Offer Hint of Mental Decline

Verbal issues could be a clue to deteriorating cognitive state

(Newser) - Your speech may, um, help reveal if you're uh ... developing thinking problems. More pauses, filler words, and other verbal changes may be an early sign of mental decline, which can lead to Alzheimer's disease, a study suggests. Per the AP , researchers had 400 people without cognitive problems and... More »

Oxford Dictionary Boasts a New Final Word

'Zyzzyva' has been added, as have 'post-truth,' 'unclick,' and a word describing sperm

(Newser) - And you thought "covfefe" was hard to pronounce. The Oxford English Dictionary has added more than 1,200 new "words, phrases, and senses" to its tome, per a blog post , and among them is an entry that nabs the spot as the last word in the book. "... More »

Icelandic Language's Problem: Computers Don't Get It

Language spoken by fewer than 400K has the deck somewhat stacked against it

(Newser) - When an Icelander arrives at an office building and sees "Solarfri" posted, they need no further explanation for the empty premises: The word means "when staff get an unexpected afternoon off to enjoy good weather." But the revered Icelandic language, seen by many as a source of... More »

App Helps You Get Smarter During Your Wasted Time

MIT software teaches vocabulary during each day's idle moments

(Newser) - How much "wait-learning" have you done lately? That's the term MIT scientists have for picking up knowledge while lingering in an elevator, waiting for a reply to your text, or doing other things that would normally have you simply staring off into space—and now they've got... More »

She Coined 'On Fleek,' Wants You to Pay Her for It

Internet hit Peaches Monroee is crowdfunding for planned cosmetics line

(Newser) - If you've ever used the term "on fleek," Kayla Lewis is hoping you'll see fit to pay her for it. Lewis, better known by her Vine moniker Peaches Monroee, was a teen who broke onto the internet scene in 2014 after supposedly being the first person... More »

How Scientists Are Cracking One of the World's Oldest Codes

Cognitive science and complex statistical processes are both playing into it: the Verge

(Newser) - Since the late 1800s, scientists have been stumped over small pieces of stone found buried in India and Pakistan, each carved with a line of symbols over a depiction of an animal—all evidence of the since-IDed Indus Valley Civilization, said to be the oldest Indian civilization known to exist.... More »

Canadian PM Rapped for Speaking French

He should've responded to questions in English, critics say

(Newser) - How do you say "he stepped in it" in French? Though he leads an officially bilingual country, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was rapped for slipping into the language of Moliere instead of sticking to Shakespeare. No fewer than three official complaints were lodged with Canada's Commissioner of... More »

Women Swear More Than Men —and That's F---ing Great

It's a sign of equality, say researchers

(Newser) - Men will now have the perfect response the next time someone tells them to watch their language around ladies. A new study finds women—British women, at least—are more likely to utter the F-bomb than men. Surprised? Researchers aren't. As part of a larger study of the English... More »

Enjoy Your 'Th' Sounds Now, They'll Be Gone by 2066

According to a new report from British linguistic experts

(Newser) - The Queen's English as spoken in the UK is under attack by immigrants, computers, American television, and youths. Or should we say yoofs? In a report published Thursday, linguistic experts at the University of York predict major changes in Brits' pronunciation of the English language by 2066, the Sun... More »

Our Languages May Have More in Common Than We Thought

New findings challenge long-held theories about languages forming independently

(Newser) - About 100 years ago, one of the founders of modern linguistics, Ferdinand de Saussure, wrote that the relationship between the sounds we make and the concepts they signify are arbitrary. Many have long agreed. But now the inherent randomness of human language is being challenged by a large new study... More »

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